Cargo screening deadline pushed up
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has pushed up the deadline for 100 percent cargo screening on all international passenger flights inbound for the U.S. to Dec. 31.
John Sammon of the TSA had testified before Congress last summer that it would take until 2013 before an all-cargo screening policy on international passenger aircraft could be effectively put into place. In an e-mail to freight forwarders and shippers, the organization pointed to “recent global events” as justification for pushing the deadline up by a full two years.
This announcement will have an immediate effect on the air cargo industry beyond just the increased cost of screening more packages, said Bob Imbriani of Team Worldwide. “It will require earlier cutoffs for cargo, reducing some of the expedited advantage of airfreight,” he said. “It may give a further advantage to large forwarders and integrators over mid-size and small forwarders, and it may have more shippers considering ocean cargo as an alternative.”
Though December is nearly a full year away, that still doesn’t leave a lot of time for the myriad changes that need to be made before screening can be implemented, he said. One of the largest hurdles will be coordinating security measures in origin countries, which involves making sure the TSA, the airlines and each country are on the same page. For Imbriani, the TSA’s request is just not feasible.
“A percentage based on origin can be achieved by December, but not 100 percent,” he said, noting that a figure as high as 75 percent is more likely. “This is an important part of cargo and national security, but the TSA will have to move much faster than they have in the past with establishing rules and guidelines if they want to achieve 100 percent by this deadline.”